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Brazil closes border to Venezuela migrants

Brazil closes border to Venezuela migrants

Image copyright Reuters Brazil has closed its border with Venezuela to people fleeing economic and political turmoil in its northern neighbour. Judge Helder Barreto ordered the frontier to be shut until Brazil can put in place the right conditions to receive the huge influx of people.The authorities in the state of Roraima in Brazil’s Amazon…


Venezuelan walks over border into Brazil, file picture 16 November 2017Image copyright Reuters

Brazil has closed its border with Venezuela to people fleeing economic and political turmoil in its northern neighbour.

Judge Helder Barreto ordered the frontier to be shut until Brazil can put in place the right conditions to receive the huge influx of people.

The authorities in the state of Roraima in Brazil’s Amazon region say some 800 Venezuelans cross the border every day.

However, the border remains open to Brazilians and other non-Venezuelans.

It is also open for Venezuelans who are returning north out of Brazil. Sea and air borders are unaffected by the ruling.

An apparent assassination attempt on Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro at the weekend has raised tensions in the country even further.

Many thousands of Venezuelans have fled into neighbouring countries, mainly Colombia and Brazil, in search of better economic conditions over the past three years.

Image copyright EPA

Image caption Many Venezuelans who have crossed into Brazil struggle to find accommodation

Roraima, in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon region, is one of the country’s poorest states.

Most of the Venezuelans who have crossed the border in recent months are living in appalling conditions in the streets of the state capital, Boa Vista, and other cities.

For months, the authorities in Roraima have been calling for the border to be shut. They say that public services have collapsed and that migration has brought about a sharp rise in crime.

Last week, a rule was introduced requiring Venezuelans seeking medical or social assistance in Roraima to present a valid passport, which many of the migrants do not have.

Judge Barreto ruled this move to be “discriminatory” and ordered the temporary border closure to allow state bodies to come up with a plan to deal with the crisis.

Brazil’s central government had opposed any border closure, saying that ordinary Venezuelans were suffering the consequences of a humanitarian crisis and that Brazil must continue to help.

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